Pukekohe Playcentre - 30/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Pukekohe Playcentre

How well placed is Pukekohe Playcentre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Pukekohe Playcentre provides a parent-led early childhood education and care service, operating five mornings a week for children from birth to school age. The centre is licensed for 30 children with a maximum of 15 under two years of age. The current roll is 57 children and 13 are identified as Māori.

The playcentre is one of 17 centres in the Counties Playcentre Association (CPA). The New Zealand Playcentre Federation (NZPF) and the CPA provide governance oversight for the centre. This includes strategic direction, management support, documentation and adult education programmes. In addition, the centre receives regular visits from experienced personnel who offer advice guidance and support to centre members. The NZPF is currently undergoing restructuring, and this has implications for CPA governance actions in the future.

The playcentre philosophy aims to affirm and support parents as the first and best educators of their children. Parents learn with and alongside their children who are empowered to initiate their own learning.

Members have responded positively to recommendations in the 2013 ERO report. Increased publicity has ensured the roll has been maintained, and ongoing adult training has supported session evaluation, programme planning and an awareness of bicultural practice. In addition, there is an increased use of online communication with parents and the community, and a new playground has been designed.

This review was part of a cluster of six reviews in the Counties Playcentre Association

The Review Findings

Members have established respectful and affirming relationships amongst families/whānau and children. They provide caring and nurturing support for their own and other children. Experienced members model good practice and positively guide children’s behaviour. Parents listen carefully to children’s ideas and opinions, and plan and prepare an attractive, well-thought out, child-centred environment. Members are fostering a strong sense of wellbeing and belonging for children and their families.

Routines for very young children are highly responsive to their rhythm and care needs, including breastfeeding. Infants benefit from a well-designed quiet and safe area for play, and appropriate care facilities. Some tuakana-teina practices are evident, with older children showing considerate and supportive behaviour for younger siblings.

Children benefit from learning with and alongside their parents. This affirms their language, culture and identity, and provides continuity of learning. Members bring a wide range of interests and professional knowledge to enrich the learning programme for children. A feature of the playcentre is that children of all ages have ongoing access to high quality and plentiful equipment in 16 areas of play. Sustained periods of uninterrupted play are thoughtfully combined with shared routines to provide children and adults with meaningful opportunities for social interactions. Children with additional identified needs are well included and the centre works positively with appropriate external and specialist support. Transitions into the centre are well planned and effectively managed, and contribute to the settled environment.

Clear assessment, planning and evaluation cycles are informed by emergent interests and children’s identified strengths, and are evident in centre displays, profile books and operational documents. Individual profiles reflect the enthusiasm and interest parents have in documenting their children’s learning and development. There is need to review the learning opportunities in each area of play, and to extend and add complexity for older children. Increasing the integration of literacy, mathematics and science language and concepts, in play should lead to improved learning outcomes for children.

Dedicated and cooperative leadership is empowering members and contributing to centre sustainability. Current centre leaders are well informed, and provide positive support and clear documentation for roles and responsibilities, especially at times of transition. New parents are warmly welcomed, and encouraged to engage in playcentre adult education courses. This contributes to children’s learning.

Māori children and their whānau benefit from participating in an inclusive family-based service. Leaders are yet to take a planned approach to implementing the CPA Tiriti o Waitangi policy and the intent of the Ministry of Education document Ka Hikitia, Accelerating Māori Success. It is important for centre leaders to continue building the knowledge and confidence of members at higher levels of playcentre adult training, which is likely to strengthen the empowerment of children to lead their own learning through play.

CPA provides governance oversight to the members of Pukekohe Playcentre, including finance for special approved projects. A liaison officer and equipment team, provide oversight and guidance for centre members. While CPA has an appropriate Tirirti o Waitangi policy, their bicultural advisory committee is not currently functioning. This results in minimal support in te ao Māori for centre members. Strengthening CPA support for centres is likely to result in more effective self-review and quality-assurance processes, leading to improved education and care outcomes for children and their parents. 

Key Next Steps

As identified in the 2013 ERO report, there remains a need to strengthen the quality of support provided by CPA, through their Liaison Officers and Centre Support workers, as they visit centre members. This should include:

  • documented feedback to centres aligned with Ministry of Education and CPA expectations and requirements (need to sight job descriptions for LO and CSW, and paid staff appraisals)

  • specific guidance on self review

  • revitalised centre support in the area of bicultural practice.


ERO recommends that CPA:

  • develops strategies to ensure that its centre members are kept up-to-date with obligations and expectations in relation to current regulatory requirements and policies.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Pukekohe Playcentre completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • curriculum
  • premises and facilities
  • health and safety practices
  • governance, management and administration.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s systems for managing the following areas that have a potentially high impact on children's wellbeing:

  • emotional safety (including positive guidance and child protection)

  • physical safety (including supervision; sleep procedures; accidents; medication; hygiene; excursion policies and procedures)

  • suitable staffing (including qualification levels; police vetting; teacher registration; ratios)

  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

All early childhood services are required to promote children's health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements. 

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to governance and management and health and safety. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • implement a system of regular appraisal for employee
  • ensuring all policies are current and incorporate current legislative requirements.

[Education (early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008: GMA 7]

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Pukekohe Playcentre will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

30 June 2017 

The Purpose of ERO Reports

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the government department that, as part of its work, reviews early childhood services throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. ERO’s reports provide information for parents and communities about each service’s strengths and next steps for development. ERO’s bicultural evaluation framework Ngā Pou Here is described in SECTION 3 of this report. Early childhood services are partners in the review process and are expected to make use of the review findings to enhance children's wellbeing and learning.

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service 



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 29 Boys 28

Ethnic composition

Cook Island


Review team on site

February 2017

Date of this report

30 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

December 2013

Education Review

August 2010

Education Review

June 2007

3 General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

ERO’s Evaluation Framework

ERO’s overarching question for an early childhood education review is ‘How well placed is this service to promote positive learning outcomes for children?’ ERO focuses on the following factors as described in the bicultural framework Ngā Pou Here:

  • Pou Whakahaere – how the service determines its vision, philosophy and direction to ensure positive outcomes for children
  • Pou Ārahi – how leadership is enacted to enhance positive outcomes for children
  • Mātauranga – whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is designed to achieve positive outcomes for children
  • Tikanga whakaako – how approaches to teaching and learning respond to diversity and support positive outcomes for children.

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness of arotake – self review and of whanaungatanga – partnerships with parents and whānau.

ERO evaluates how well placed a service is to sustain good practice and make ongoing improvements for the benefit of all children at the service.

A focus for the government is that all children, especially priority learners, have an opportunity to benefit from quality early childhood education. ERO will report on how well each service promotes positive outcomes for all children, with a focus on children who are Māori, Pacific, have diverse needs, and are up to the age of two.

For more information about the framework and Ngā Pou Here refer to ERO’s Approach to Review in Early Childhood Services.

ERO’s Overall Judgement and Next Review

The overall judgement that ERO makes and the timing of the next review will depend on how well placed a service is to promote positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed – The next ERO review in four years
  • Well placed – The next ERO review in three years
  • Requires further development – The next ERO review within two years
  • Not well placed - The next ERO review in consultation with the Ministry of Education

ERO has developed criteria for each category. These are available on ERO’s website.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews are tailored to each service’s context and performance, within the overarching review framework. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.